Against The Grain: 'There are strong indications of intelligent design'
Thursday 08 February 2007
Stuart Burgess is Professor of design and nature in the department of mechanical engineering at Bristol University. He argues that intelligent design is as valid a scientific concept as evolution.
Current scientific philosophy is to rule out completely the possibility that a creator was involved. But there is no scientific justification for making such a sweeping assumption. Science should always be open-minded.
Newton, Kelvin, Faraday and Pascal had no problem with a creator and with design. There is no reason why a modern scientist cannot take the same position as these eminent scientists. Three hundred years ago, there was so much support for intelligent design that life could be difficult if you were an atheist. Now the opposite is true; life can be difficult if you show the slightest sympathy for intelligent design.
Evolution cannot be taken as a fact of science because of the ambiguities in the evidence. The fossil record can be evidence for and against evolution because of the gaps. Similarities in DNA code can be just as much evidence for a common designer as for evolution. Most significantly, scientists have failed to reproduce the spontaneous generation of life for 60 years.
I've been designing systems like spacecraft for more than 20 years. One of the lessons I've learnt is that complex systems require an immense amount of intelligence to design. I've seen a lot of irreducible complexity in engineering. I have also seen organs in nature that are apparently irreducible. An irreducibly complex organ is one where several parts are required simultaneously for the system to function usefully, so it cannot have evolved, bit by bit, over time.
The mammalian knee-joint is an organ that appears irreducible. Everyone has a four-bar linkage in their knee. Engineers know that for this to work, you need all four bars to be present. Every time we walk, we're using irreducible mechanisms. Evolutionists have not been able to explain how the knee joint evolved step by step. We cannot prove that an intelligent being designed these, but at present no one can prove that they evolved, either.
There is a real difference between intelligent design and creationism. Creationism is about who the designer is and why he created the world.
For this reason, I don't think creationism should be taught in a science lesson. But the question of intelligent design is completely different. It only addresses the question of whether an intelligent designer is needed for life to have been possible. The possibility of a designer should be mentioned, however briefly.
I can understand that some people are worried about the implications of the existence of a creator, but it's not science to rule something out because you don't like the implications.
Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
Man who was struck and killed by lightning in Brecon Beacons 'was carrying a selfie stick'
Greece debt crisis as it happened: EU chiefs at loggerheads hours before Alexis Tsipras’s last ditch deal proposals
Bakery sends 'horrific' version of Frozen-themed birthday cake to unsuspecting customer
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
Greece debt crisis: Angela Merkel and Francois Hollande issue Athens with 24-hour ultimatum to avoid crashing out of the euro
Greece crisis: Referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its lack of genuine legitimacy
- 1 Florida man sentenced to two-and-a-half years for having sex on the beach in front of a child
- 2 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 4 World learns of app that shows you who unfriended you on Facebook, app promptly crashes
- 5 Chris Moyles reportedly set to make radio comeback with new breakfast show on XFM
£22000 - £27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To contribute to the day-to-da...
£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: It is also essential that you p...
£27000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Edinburgh city centre scho...
£30000 - £31000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An independent boys' school sit...