Welcome to tomthinking.com Thursday, March 22 2018 @ 12:07 PM UTC
Science can't explain the complexity and order of life; God must have designed it to be this way
In his book, Why God Doesn't Exist, author Armin Navabi states, "Arguably the earliest function of religion was to explain natural phenomena that primitive man could not otherwise understand…Even though there are things in the world that we don't understand and may never truly understand, there's no reason to simply make up an explanation."
I agree with Navabi to a point. Saying that only the existence of God can make sense of something is not, by itself, a persuasive argument for God's existence. However, complexity does offer us something to consider regarding the origins of creation.
Science can explain how nature functions, including complexity. However, observational science cannot explain the ultimate origin of that complexity. For instance, science cannot demonstrate how genetic information rose to exist, from non-life to life (abiogenesis). It has been theorized, but never observed in a way that confirms any theory. Information, by definition, is complex. Information implies purpose, understanding, usefulness, and meaning. There is no observable process whereby these things just come together on their own from non-life to life.
Regarding the origin of complexity, Navabi goes on to say, "Complex systems can arise without a designer. Evolution by natural selection is one such system." However, Navabi's argument is a circular one. Evolution is assumed to be true, and therefore it naturally follows that life-creating complexity arises from it. This is not something observed, rather, it is an assumption from naturalism.
Navabi goes on to say how a computer program called, The Game Of Life is a demonstration of how complexity arises without a designer. "In the game, a player establishes an initial pattern of 'cells.' then sets them loose to multiply and die according to mathematical calculations." The result are complex patterns that appear and die as the rules of the game play out. In fact, this is where Navabi's argument falls apart, right at the beginning, because, as Navabi himself states, "The game shows how complexity can arise from a few simple cells following basic mathematical rules." In other words, someone had to design the game and the rules it operates by. The Game Of Life has an intelligent designer.
The Game Of Life produces simple complexity, not complex complexity. That is, it does not create new rules or new information or evolve to become something completely different than what its rules allow. It is bound by the rules established (by a designer). To yield different patterns and movements the grid must be given different starting points. The game is, therefore, guided by the first input and is not a self-originating operation.
Navabi argues, "Invoking a deity doesn't solve the problem of complexity; it introduces a new problem. If all complex things require an intelligent creator, then why is that creator himself not bound by the same rule?"
The origin of complexity applies only to created things. God is not a created thing. He is self-sustaining. Ironically, this is the same argument used by the atheist about the cosmos. If the explanation is valid for creation, why then can it not be applied to God?
We do not know the origins of God anymore than the atheist who presupposes naturalism knows the origin of the Big Bang. God has not revealed his origins. But not knowing God's origins does not prove nonexistence. I may not know the place where someone was born, but that doesn't mean the place doesn't exist.
From the biblical perspective, God's being is not bound to the laws of the universe he has created. He is self-existent, outside of time, and therefore has no beginning point in linear time as we understand it.
Our conclusion, therefore, is that it is best to say that science can explain complexity, but it cannot explain the ultimate origins of complexity. This then leaves room for God as one possible answer to that question.