Intelligent Design or Coincidence—Which?
IS THERE intelligent design in the living things around us, or is everything a result of mere chance? There are two fields of thought on this question.
The proponents of the theory of existence by chance, or by the action of ‘blind forces,’ believe that life exists through the combination, by coincidence, of a countless number of events. This would mean that exactly the right chemicals would have to form themselves into the right quantities, under precisely the right conditions of temperature, moisture and other factors, all being maintained for the required length of time. Furthermore, such coincidental events would have to be continuous, or be repeated endless times, to begin and perpetuate life on earth.
Those who believe in design hold that there is intelligent purpose in life. Each life form is an important unit in the overall pattern, and there is an interdependency of all these forms. The variety of living things, the instincts that they display and the mechanisms or equipment that animals have, on the one hand, for hunting their food and, on the other hand, for survival of their species, exhibit an intelligence that is not their own—in fact, it is far above anything that even intelligent man could conceive of or devise.
Those who believe in coincidental existence of life acknowledge that the odds against such a chance happening are astronomical, yes, much more than astronomical. But, they say, every kind of combination could happen if enough time were allowed.
However, it is difficult to explain by the “coincidence” theory why haphazard changes are not observed in profusion today. A scientist takes progressive steps in his research, and he bases these on his own previous experiments or on the research of other scientists. He also proceeds according to what he knows of the laws governing natural things. He does not believe, for example, that the reactions of certain chemical combinations demonstrated yesterday will be different today, if the same conditions are maintained. So he has faith in what he calls the laws of chemistry. This faith contradicts the theory of coincidence or the operation of ‘blind forces.’
Among living things on earth, both plant and animal, there is amazing complexity. Yet, in the provision for continuation of life—the great diversity of methods, all of them ingenious and perfectly effective—there are grounds for even greater amazement.
Why does every person owe it to himself to consider the evidence on this question of life by intelligent design or by chance? Well, a person’s life pattern and his relations toward his fellowman are greatly affected by his view on the source of life. Therefore, it is good to avoid taking a final position on the question until at least a small portion of the great mass of evidence is thoughtfully weighed. Then one can begin to arrive at the truth, which alone satisfies the reasoning mind. In the next two articles some of the evidence will be presented, from which the reader can draw the conclusion that his reasoning directs.