TITLE: Intelligent Design 7/12/15
By Richard McCaw
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Imagine that I am at the Fort Lauderdale court house as an investigative reporter on the controversies surrounding Darwin’s theory of natural selection.
I had seen Karl Ernst Ritter von Baer sitting among the group of scientists in the courthouse. Later, I get his telephone number from one of the scientists to whom I have spoken. When I call him he politely agrees to meet at the Galleria Mall for us to talk over lunch.
Mr. von Baer had been a naturalist, biologist, geologist, meteorologist, and a geographer and is regarded as a founding father of embryology. He had also been an explorer of European Russia and Scandinavia and had been a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, a co-founder of the Russian Geographical Society and the first President of the Russian Entomological Society. In short he was a Baltic German scientist of great distinction.
I then gently suggest the subject of intelligent design after we had given our order for our dishes.
“Now, Mr. von Baer,” I begin, “You know that the theory of evolution is built on thousands of chances. Many people these days believe that human beings came to exist by chance. In sexual recombination, chance selects which genes are given by each parent. You know that is a fact, don’t you?”
“Sir,” he replies. “Have you ever heard the following statement anywhere? The chance that higher life forms might have appeared by slow modification over millions of years...may be comparable with the chance that 'a tornado sweeping through a junk yard might assemble together a Boeing 747.”
“That was made by Sir Fred Hoyle,” I reply, “but remember that in evolution chance is still an integral part of Darwin’s theory of evolution, so your illustration does not really negate the fact of evolution.”
Mr. Von Baer continues, “And are you also familiar with the following statement?”
I tap lightly on the keys of my laptop which I first took from my brief case, as I brought up an anti-creationist website, scraped my throat then ask, “Pray, what statement?"
Mr. Von Baer pursues his argument. “The elements of the carbon atom must have been designed by a superior intellect otherwise the chance of such an atom being found by anyone through blind natural forces would be completely minute. Looking at the facts from pure common sense would indicate that a superintellect has played around with physics, chemistry and biology.”
“Mr. Von Baer,” I object, “Evolution does not explain the existence of any species exclusively by chance. There are other factors involved.”
“True,” he replies, “but obviously nature has no blind forces worthy of such a suggestion. As scientists there are numerous facts facing us that are too overwhelming and places this conclusion almost without reasonable doubt.”
I must have seemed to him like a soldier firing away at an enemy target. I smoothed back a lock of my hair and asked as I prepared to read from my laptop smoothly and easily. “So you agree with the following statement, Mr. von Baer?”
He sits up.
“If anyone examines the facts of these issues, without anyone being distracted by any fear of current scientific opinion,” and here I raised my voice as if moving to a grand climax, “THERE CAN BE ONLY ONE CONCLUSION: that biomaterials with their amazing amount or systematic order MUST HAVE BEEN ORDERED BY INTELLIGENT DESIGN. I have NOT been able to think of any other possibility.”
“Yes, yes, yes... indeed, I could have made that statement myself! That was made by Fred Hoyle, a famous English astronomer.” he replies.
I look at him straight in the eyes then say, “Another question, Mr. von Baer. Did you ever read anywhere that the idea that both the biopoymer and the living cell’s operating program could be arrived at by blind chance in a primordial organic soup on the Earth is obviously nothing more than the greatest nonsense?”
Von Baer paused for a moment, then nodding wearily replies slowly, “Indeed! Sir Fred Hoyle has expressed such strong reactions to the theory of evolution! But he is not the only one. Did you ever hear of Professor Kornfeld?”
I look up from the laptop on which I have been tapping rapidly. “No, but do go on, please.”
“Professor Edwin Conklin, who was a biologist at Princeton University, has often stated that the probability of life originating from accident is comparable to the probability of the unabridged Dictionary resulting from an explosion in a printing shop.” He also stated that the simplest man-made mechanism requires a planner and a maker. How a mechanism ten thousand times more involved and intricate can be conceived of as self-constructed and self-developed is completely beyond me.
And listen to this one: To admire a magnificent field of yellow, waving grain and at the same time to deny the existence of the farmer in the farmhouse by the roadside is illogical. It is just as illogical to admire the fantastic orderly and beautiful universe and to deny its great designer.”
“Impressive!” I keep nodding my head as I type and continue to smile. “I’ve never heard that!”
He is an intelligent man, a scientist, most highly respected by the scientific community. I leave that afternoon satisfied that I am close to my own conclusion about intelligent design or whether man had indeed evolved from the chimpanzee according to Darwin’s theory of evolution. More than anything else I am not sure how long I can hold out as an atheist. I think I am about to believe that a great designer created the universe.
After hearing that magnificent display of rhetoric, my whole faith in evolution and in my own atheism is deeply shaken. A thousand questions assail me as I drive home in a sense of profound inner disturbance and inner reflection. What if the revelations of the scientists whom he had quoted are in fact the truth? Could the rest of the scientific community be as far from reality as those in the time of Christopher Columbus? What if those who believe in a God, Who designed the universe are right and I am wrong? Suppose there is really a heaven to gain and a Hell reserved for ungodly men and women who reject Christ, the Savior of the world, according to what they say?
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