Is there scientific evidence for a universe by intelligent design? Some people find it difficult to answer the question. In The New York Review of Books, Steven Weinberg (Professor of Physics, University of Texas at Austin and Winner of the 1979 Nobel Prize in Physics) contributed a piece titled: “A Designer Universe?” (October 1999). Weinberg had been invited to “comment on whether the universe showed signs of having been designed.” Instead of addressing the assigned subject, he immediately (and according to him, necessarily) shifted to a discussion about the nature of deity. He questions whether this designer would be “an idiot,” “a deity from traditional monotheistic religion,” or “a cosmic spirit of order and harmony.”
One possibility he flatly rejects is the existence of a benevolent creator. Weinberg drifts far from his assigned subject when he complains about the impossibility of a benevolent deity because of all the evil in the world.
In the end, Weinberg offers little serious consideration of the subject he was invited to address. He appeared unable to deal directly with the issue. His thinly veiled bias against theism and religion is finally unveiled at the conclusion of the article. In an incredible moment of arrogance, Weinberg suggested that, “One of the great achievements of science has been, if not to make it impossible for intelligent people to be religious, then at least to make it possible for them not to be religious. We should not retreat from this accomplishment.”
Evidently, Weinberg numbers himself among the nonreligious, intelligent people who through the great achievements of science have been liberated from the notion that the universe is a product of intelligent design. Yet, if Weinberg is so intelligent, why doesn’t he address the question of design based on scientific evidence? Why does he resort to rambling ad hominem? Is it possible that Weinberg knows that the scientific evidence is not with him? That it builds a better case for intelligent design? Is he afraid to admit that on the question of the ultimate origin of the universe, the faith of naturalism has very little (if any) scientific evidence to support it?
Equally able scholars have been willing to honestly investigate the question of design. Owen Gingerich, professor of astronomy and the history of science at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge said, “there are so many wonderful details which, if they were changed only slightly, would make it impossible for us to be here, that one just has to feel, somehow, that there is a design in the universe and, therefore, a designer to have worked it out so magnificently.”
The famous astrophysicist, Sir Fred Hoyle, acknowledged that the choice is between “deliberate design” and “a monstrous sequence of accidents.” Theoretical physicist Paul Davies wrote, “The very fact that the universe is creative and that the laws have permitted complex structures to emerge and develop to the point of consciousness … is for me powerful evidence that there is ‘something going on’ behind it all. The impression of design is overwhelming.” Biochemist Michael Behe, wrote that four decades of intensive research into life at the molecular level has “sounded a loud, piercing cry for intelligent design” (Darwin’s Black Box).
Since the conclusion of intelligent design is well supported by scientific evidence and far more logically coherent than faith in naturalism, we should not be surprised by Weinberg’s inability to address the subject he was assigned.
It is encouraging to find that many highly respected scientist and philosophers are honest enough to consider intelligent design. These distinguished leaders recognize that the, Darwinian evolutionary theory has failed to solve the puzzle of life’s origin and development. They acknowledge the extreme improbability that the high level of complexity found in most life forms could have resulted from chance occurrences.
The need on the academic level is, as Phillip Johnson indicates, “a separation of the philosophy from the real science, both in order to have an honest, unbiased scientific enterprise, and to protect the public from getting the false impression that scientific evidence has shown that the evolutionary process is our true creator.” Instead, the ancient text of Genesis, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1), fits the evidence for those who have an open mind to consider it.