Dawkins and Design
Romans 1:20 states that everyone should be able to understand that there is a Creator from what has been made, “so that men are without excuse”. But in this “Year of Darwin”, there’s no shortage of outspoken Darwin adulators who unashamedly proclaim the world was not created.
Surely the best known of these is Richard Dawkins. In his book The Blind Watchmaker, Dawkins wrote: “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose”,1 then proceeds to argue that they were not.
Dawkins has vociferously continued to proclaim the “no design, therefore no designer” line. But when Ben Stein (in the recent documentary Expelled2) asked him, “What do you think is the possibility that Intelligent Design might turn out to be the answer to some issues in genetics, or evolution?” Dawkins responded:
“It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved by probably some kind of Darwinian means to a very, very high level of technology— and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. … And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.”
For Dawkins, that’s quite a concession.3
Actually, scientists have looked and are still looking at the details of biochemistry and molecular biology and finding unmistakeable evidence of design. Design so good that scientists would love to copy it if only they knew how (see, e.g., “Can we make green energy just as plants do?” on p. 8). And they’ve found not just molecular motors in the cell but now also that these are coordinated (p. 10). And there’s no shortage of recognised designs in nature that have inspired improved technology, e.g. cameras (p. 8) and underwater survey vehicles (pp. 22–23).
‘It could be that at some earlier time, somewhere in the universe, a civilization evolved by probably some kind of Darwinian means to a very, very high level of technology—and designed a form of life that they seeded onto perhaps this planet. … And I suppose it’s possible that you might find evidence for that if you look at the details of biochemistry, molecular biology, you might find a signature of some sort of designer.’—Richard Dawkins, responding to a question from Ben Stein in Expelled
However, even if Dawkins were to accept the evidence of “a signature of some sort of designer”, it would not be the God of the Bible. “No,” Dawkins said to Stein firmly, “nothing like that.”
As Stein said later, “So Professor Dawkins was not against intelligent design, just certain types of designers, such as God.”
When Stein asked Dawkins what he would do if he met God after he died, Dawkins replied:
“Bertrand Russell had that point put to him and he said something like, ‘Sir, why did you take such pains to hide yourself?’”
But, as we’ve seen, God has not hidden his handiwork from us. Also, He has spoken through His prophets (Romans 1:2, 2 Peter 1:20–21, Hebrews 1:1), and then through His divine Son (Hebrews 1:2–8). He sent this Son, Jesus Christ—through whom and by whom and for whom all things were made (John 1:1–3, Colossians 1:16)—to die in our place, so that all who believe in Him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). His Word can be trusted, not just in matters of morality and salvation, but also in relation to the history of the universe, despite the much-heralded “Year of Darwin” proclamations.
That’s why Creation magazine is about more than the design issue. Articles such as Galápagos birds (pp. 28–31), parasites (pp. 34–37), why the solar system can’t be billions of years old (pp. 18, 54–55), and suffocating fossils (pp. 42–43) aim to show that the observable evidence of the reality around us fits with the Bible’s account of how it came to be—not imaginative speculations such as “aliens made us”.
References and notes
- Dawkins, R., The Blind Watchmaker, W.W. Norton & Company, New York, USA, p. 1, 1986. See also the articles under <creation.com/dawk>. Return to text.
- See <www.expelledthemovie.com/>, <creation.com/expelled1>, <creation.com/expelled>. Return to text.
- See also: Is Richard Dawkins weakening?—The world’s most renowned atheist now says he “respects” the “rather profound idea” of a “cosmic intelligence”, <creation.com/weakening>, 3 August 2007. Return to text.